Scribbles and thoughts ...

These are ramblings from J L Wilson, published author of romantic suspense, mystery, and paranormal -time travel fiction....

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Attitude is paramount

As you know, I've been on a weight-loss journey since February 1 and have currently lost 35 pounds. I'd love to love 6 more, but if I don't, I'm happy.

It's been an interesting experience and I'm amazed that all the cliches apply:
  • it's not about dieting, it's about changing your attitude toward food
  • it's not about rearranging your life to exercise, it's about fitting exercise into your life
  • it's not about the goal, it's about the process
I still eat what I want but I don't eat as much, nor do I eat it as often. Yep, I have fast food now and again, but it's very seldom. Yes, I added more fruit & veggies to my diet, but it was a gradual process. I still love my little treats here & there. That's where the 100-calorie snack packs come into play -- lifesavers!

In terms of exercise, I fit in my walking throughout the course of the day. I usually try to get in a half-hour sometime of walking, either at the mall or outside, but if I can't, I know I can get in 7000 steps a day easily by just taking the 'long' way: walk a few extra steps here & there. The pedometer is key to this, of course.

But more than anything, it's been about my attitude. It all boils down to this: I was sick of thinking about my weight. It was worth it to me to 'give up' some things in order to lose the weight.

The same thing happened when I quit smoking: I was sick of thinking about quitting. I just quit. And you know what? I do the same thing with my writing: I procrastinate, I dither, I think about tweaking this plot point or that. And at some point, I just sit down and WRITE THE DAMN BOOK.

I was speaking with friends yesterday about weight loss and I said, "You've got to find what works for you -- my way isn't the right way for everyone. But it works for me." Know yourself and find what works. Then just do it. That applies to diet, exercise, health, life, love, writing, and work. You can certainly look to others for examples, but in the end, it's up to you to figure it out. Once you do ... it all starts to fall into place.

So excuse me. Enough procrastinating. I need to do some writing.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

As predicted ...

Yep, I'm pain-free now after those 2 cortisone shots. I was struggling Monday-Wednesday, but Wednesday night was my first pain-free sleeping in months.

Of course, I still don't sleep a lot -- I have 2 kittens in the house, one of whom believes my pillow is her spot and she PURRS to let me know it. And another cat, Mr. Houdini, who sleeps pressed against my legs as protection against the Tiny Evils who torment him. But all in all, it's great to feel flexible & good again. And more good news: my Mia cat, Diva kitty, does not have cancer but some bizarre growth (the vet said he's never seen anything like it in 24 years of vetting) which may come back but if it does and it doesn't bother her, we can ignore.

Life Is Good.

Today I'm off to a play ("Singin' in the Rain", so apt because it's raining, FINALLY, we needed rain so bad), then to a town festival with balloon rides, brauts, and polka dancing in the park. The weather is supposed to clear in time for it, so I say, Bring it on! Summer! Enjoy!

My diet resumes tomorrow....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Big Owie

I had 2 shots of cortisone in my hips yesterday and man, oh man, does it hurt today. I can barely move without pain. Advil, here I come.

I know in a week or so I'll be pain-free. I haven't been pain-free since May, so I'm looking forward to it. I have chronic bursitis in both hips and some nights, I have to sleep in a chair because between the arthritis in my back and the bursitis in my hips ...

Of course, it could be SO much worse that it doesn't bear thinking about. I was at the hospital today having a mammogram (my philosophy is: get the icky things done in threes then you're done with them for months. The third icky thing I did today was take my cat, kicking & struggling, to the vet for a surgical procedure). While at the hospital I saw some REALLY sick people. And the squishing wasn't as bad as it's been in the past. Everything is digital now, so it goes faster and it's not as painful.

All in all: good. Now I'm settling in to work at home and will try to move very little (those of you who know me: all laugh together at the notion). And if I'm lucky, I'll carve out some time to WRITE.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A fun event not sanctioned by RWA

I had a book signing today in a flower shop.

I grew up in a small town with no bookstore so the flower shop stocks my books. Because I'm with a small press (I don't call them an e-pub) I'm able to work with my publisher to get the books in unusual locations like gift shops, etc.

I sold a few dozen books, had press interviews with local papers and had a great time.

If I followed RWA guidelines I'd be poorer financially and in terms of experience. Thank heavens I started ignoring them years ago!

Sent from the Berry gadget

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An odd sort of happiness

I got a promotion yesterday at work. Our company recently implemented a new system of categorizing writers, and I was promoted to the higher level -- and this caused a bit of upset with a couple of my co-workers. I don't want to go into the details in a public forum, but suffice it to say it's made me pause and wonder: "did I deserve it?"

I'm not trying for false modesty here. I honestly was just doing what I felt was the best job I could. In some instances, I went beyond what was normally expected but the opportunity presented itself and I jumped in. Those kinds of opportunities haven't presented themselves to others or they didn't feel as comfortable jumping in. And of course, I had the chance to fail by doing so but I didn't. So far, I'm succeeding.

On the whole, yes, I think I deserved it. I understand why people are peeved (and let me put this in perspective: the majority of my co-workers gave me hearty and sincere congratulations). But it put a bit of a damper on my day -- just a bit. Of course, I still have to meet my deadlines, carry my workload, get the projects done on time. I'm just pausing for one day for a bit of back-patting.

::pat:: ::pat::

Yep. It feels good.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Once again, an AWOL blogger

I got wrapped up in Saturday and forgot to blog until late last night. Oops!

It was a bookend kind of day: I had a writing meeting in the morning and a party in the late afternoon. In between I did something I haven't done for a long time: I relaxed. I played with the Terrible Twosome (the kittens), I napped, I read the stack of printouts I put on my "this might be interesting pile" and I just sat & thought: about my 3 books in progress, about the garden and how it looks (pretty freakin' awesome, I have to admit), about life in general.

It's good to have those 'don't worry about it' days. I don't do them often but when I do, I savor them. Today it's back to being on-task: shopping, promo, writing, prepping for classes this fall. I feel energized and ready to get at it.

Savor those days while you may!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Green thumb day

There were a couple of empty spots in my garden that were just begging for plants, so I finally went to the local landscape center and got some plants. After 45 minutes of intensive work, they're in and my back is killing me.

When did gardening become hard work? I exercise regularly but man, that 1/2 hour of digging and planting almost did me in. This is why I pay someone to come out twice a year and prep my garden for me. I forgot how hard he works, but this was a great reminder.

I'm making excellent progress on my 2-books-at-once, but it's slower than I would like. I've got so many other things interrupting me. I would love to have an evening when I can just write, but it just isn't happening any time soon. I'm hoping July will give me some creative time.

Until then, I'll peck away at it and enjoy those plants which will be blooming soon. And maybe take my laptop out on the porch and enjoy the summer up close. It's a fleeting time here in Minnesota and meant to be savored.....

Sunday, June 07, 2009

AWOL blogger

I had a double-whammy this weekend: my 11th book released and I was away from home, at a conference.

I've gotten a bit more laid-back about book releases and don't do frantic promo on the day it comes out and for every day thereafter. I'll be posting excerpts, etc., for the next few weeks for it and the other books in this series and will also be excerpting my other books at the same time. Hey, I can re-promo those for years if I want!

The conference was good but was tiring. I think I'll be cutting back on the romance conferences from here on in. The mystery conferences are very energizing, but romance conferences ... it's hard to describe, but they're different. I just have mystery conferences for the rest of the year, so that'll be fun.

Now back to 'home work': taking care of the kitties, getting edits done for my editor, prepping a synopsis for a new book. The routine never ends!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

So you want to be a rock star ....

One of the fascinating things about my publishing experiences has been to watch as other authors I know get published. I was one of the first in my 'group' (critique partners and assorted friends) to be published. Many, many others have been published since my first book came out in 2007. Now, 10 books later, I have a different perspective on publishing than I did. And what's interesting to me is to watch as others undergo sea changes, too, as their publishing journeys continue.

I recently wrote an article for my local RWA chapter about how I manage to hold down a full-time job, have time for family and also write 4-5 books a year. I gave the obvious advice: "just sit down and write", "be disciplined", "learn your craft so you're not constantly rewriting"... An important point was "learn your voice." Once I figured out the type of writing I was good at (1st person mystery), writing became easy.

One other bit, though, was "define success for yourself." I promised myself to stay in publishing as long as I had fun doing it. If this became a real 'job' then I'd quit. Who needs that? I already have a full-time job that's tolerable but not particularly enjoyable. If my writing becomes annoying, then why do it? It's not lucrative (I make money at it, sure, but I'm not rolling in dough). I used to say that I want to be the Nora Roberts of ebook publishing: have 3-4 books a year, build a name for myself, and continue to write into the sunset.

I'm seeing friends now who are struggling to define what success means to them. Does it mean having your book on a certain shelf at Border's? Is it to get a New York contract? Is it to snag that particular agent and get them interested in your work? I think every author has to define this for himself/herself. You could use the "New York Times best seller list" but we know that's crap -- it's just a certain amount of data reported at a certain point in time. You could use $$ earned versus $$ spent, but I'm not sure if that's valid -- I'd spend a certain amount of money on conferences and workshops whether I was published or not.

Maybe it's a certain inner satisfaction to know that your stories are being read and appreciated. I love getting mail from people, commenting on my books. But even if I don't get mail, I'm still happy the books are out there.

In the long run, I keep coming back to my formula for success:

Do I enjoy doing it?
+ Can I fit it into my current lifestyle?
- Do I need to do uncomfortable things to succeed (some promotion, for example)
+ Is it relatively easy for me to do?
I'm successful at what I'm doing

So far, so good .....